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Minter outlines tax policy

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MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter says she will seek tax fairness as governor and look to lower the burden on low- and middle-income Vermonters by closing loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy and corporations. According to Minter, the tax policies she will propose as governor may incorporate some elements of the Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission report released in 2011. The report, which was shelved by policymakers in Montpelier, recommended expanding the sales tax to “all consumer-purchased services with limited exceptions for certain health and education services and business to business service transactions.”

Minter expressed an interest in dusting off the commission’s report during a WDEV radio debate on Sept. 14, saying she would look at expanding the base of the sales tax to include services. Her Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and the Vermont Republican Party pounced, announcing to Vermonters in a coordinated effort that Minter wants to tax hair cuts, among other services that Vermonters pay for. Continue Reading →

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Gubernatorial candidates take on women’s issues

Candidates for governor share a moment of levity during a forum — co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Vermont, the Vermont Commission on Women and Vermont Federation of Business and Professional Women — at the State House in Montpelier on Thursday. From left are Liberty Union candidate Bill Lee, Democratic candidate Sue Minter and Republican candidate Phil Scott. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — All three candidates for governor shared a table for the first time Thursday at a State House forum sponsored by the Vermont Commission on Women focused on issues important to women. It was the first time in the general election campaign that Democrat Sue Minter, Republican Phil Scott and Liberty Union candidate Bill Lee all appeared together. Scott has made it a condition that Lee be invited to all forums and debates, and he skipped the traditional debate on WDEV last week because Lee was not invited. Scott’s presence was noted by Minter. “I’m glad I don’t have to again debate an empty chair. Continue Reading →

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Scott releases economic plan, seeks tax cuts and credits

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Republican nominee for governor, discusses his economic plan at Firetech Sprinkler in Colchester. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

COLCHESTER — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Republican nominee for governor, released an economic plan Thursday that he says will focus on major fiscal issues and lead to a more vibrant economy. Scott, who co-owns Dubois Construction with a cousin, released the plan at a news conference at Firetech Sprinkler, saying it will lead to job creation and help lift wages for Vermonters. He chose to hold the press conference Thursday morning rather than attend a debate hosted by WDEV radio at the Tunbridge World’s Fair with his Democratic opponent, Sue Minter. “As a small business owner myself, I put my faith in the skills, work ethic and ingenuity of working Vermonters every single day. That’s why Vermonters can count on me to lead a state government that leverages our talented work force and our commitment to hard work and innovation,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Minter, Leahy launch general election ads

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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m.

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter is on the airwaves with her first general election television ad, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy has launched his first two television ads of the Senate campaign. Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, launched an ad Tuesday that looks to highlight her management skills. It focuses on her work helping the state recover from Tropical Storm Irene and and serving on President Barack Obama’s Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force. A narrator lays out what Minter’s goals as governor will be. “As Governor, Sue Minter will make sure our children can stay and succeed here in Vermont with affordable education and livable wage jobs, a governor who will put Vermont families first,” the narrator says. Continue Reading →

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Scott releases health care plan, seeks to close exchange

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott speaks about his health care plan at a news conference in Burlington. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

BURLINGTON — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Republican nominee for governor, released a health care plan Wednesday that seeks to scuttle the state’s online health insurance exchange and undo other initiatives put in place by outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Speaking at a news conference on Burlington’s Church Street, Scott linked his health care proposals to the major theme of his campaign — making the state more affordable. “For a lot of people who live here or who are thinking about living here, I think the affordability crisis will be the defining issue during this election,” he said. “One of the many reasons Vermont is unaffordable for so many Vermonters is because of the cost of health care.”

Scott reiterated his call Wednesday to scrap Vermont Health Connect in his first major policy proposal of the gubernatorial campaign. He has been calling on the state to abandon its own exchange for several years in favor of joining either the federal exchange or a multi-state exchange that does not yet exist. Continue Reading →

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Minter raises more than Scott but is being outspent

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MONTPELIER — The Democratic nominee for governor out-raised her Republican opponent in the last few weeks, but was heavily outspent as the general election campaign began, according to financial disclosure reports filed by candidates and political groups Thursday. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter reported raising $102,000 in the 16 days since the last mandated reporting deadline on Aug. 15. She spent about $68,000 in the same time frame and now has about $85,000 cash-on-hand. Among Minter’s donors since winning the Democratic nominee are Jake and Donna Carpenter, of Burton Snowboards, who donated $2,700 each. Continue Reading →

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RGA launches first ad supporting Phil Scott

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MONTPELIER — The Republican Governors Association wasted little time inserting itself into Vermont’s gubernatorial campaign, launching a television ad supporting Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in his race against Democrat Sue Minter. The RGA’s quick response — just hours after Scott was declared the GOP’s nominee over former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, is a sure sign that Republicans and Democrats are ready to spend big on the race. The RGA purchased the ad, titled “Back on Track,” through a super PAC it funds known as A Stronger Vermont. Reports were not yet filed with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday afternoon indicating how much the RGA is spending. The ad features a narrator saying Scott is “working hard to make Vermont better for everyone by working hand-in-hand with leaders of all parties.”

“As governor, Phil Scott will restore trust in state government, bring new jobs to Vermont, and focus on solving problems, not playing politics,” the female narrator says. Continue Reading →

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Dems, GOP present unified parties as general election begins

In the foreground, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter hugs House Speaker Shap Smith, who came up short in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. In the background, Sen. David Zuckerman, the nominee for lieutenant governor, hugs Matt Dunne, who was defeated by Minter. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

BURLINGTON — After lengthy primary campaigns, both the Vermont Democratic Party and the Vermont Republican Party gathered Wednesday morning to rally their troops and present a unified front for the general election. Democrats gathered at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Wednesday morning where the winners and losers in the primaries for governor and lieutenant governor spent time exchange hugs and well wishes. Matt Dunne, who lost to Sue Minter in the gubernatorial primary Tuesday by a wide margin, provided a gracious introduction for Minter after his campaign manager Nick Charyk lashed out at her last week. Charyk accused her of being part of the establishment trying to undermine Dunne for his progressive platform, offered gracious words to his former rival Wednesday

But that seemed to be forgotten Wednesday as Dunne offered his endorsement for the general election. “It wouldn’t be OK if we just wanted any Democrat to win. Continue Reading →

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Outside spending ramps up as primary approaches

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MONTPELIER — Outside spending in the gubernatorial races is exploding as the campaigns churn toward the primary on Aug. 9, according to public filings. Reid Hoffman, the Silicon Valley billionaire who co-founded LinkedIn, has ponied up $220,000 for radio, television and online ads supporting Matt Dunne. Hoffman filed a mass media report with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday as required by state election law. According to the filing, first reported by Seven Days, Hoffman is spending $154,000 for television spots, $44,000 for radio spots and $22,000 for online advertising. Continue Reading →

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Story + Video: Scott: A career of building coalitions

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MONTPELIER — Phil Scott likes to tell people how, about 20 years ago now, he did not have a political bone in his body. He grew up in Barre and spent his adult life building a family, a career as a contractor, and a reputation as a race car driver. He takes great pride in his blue-collar roots. But when he started to see politics miring the Legislature, he decided to step up. That trajectory — serving in the Senate and then as lieutenant governor — has forced him to become the leader he felt Vermont needed then — and now. Continue Reading →

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